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The Struggle of Co-Parenting

via Womans' Divorce
Dealing with an ex when you have children together can be extremely difficult. Wouldn't it be nice if the noncustodial parent was able to put their personal feelings aside and focus on being a parent to the child (ren)? Wouldn't it be nice if he/she did not include the child (ren) in adult situations and conversations? Wouldn't it be nice if he/she did not speak negatively about the custodial parent to the child (ren)? Wouldn't it be nice if he/she communicated and coordinated outings and weekend visits with you instead of communicating via the child (ren)? This would be great, unfortunately, that is not the case with many who are trying to co-parent, myself included.

Co-parenting is not an easy task. One would hope co-parenting would be less stressful and somewhat easier especially if the child is older. Well that is not always true and it is never that easy. My daughter is ten years old and some days are easier than others. I am constantly being civil and courteous towards her father only to be (occasionally) verbally attacked and disrespected. Most of the time, I remain calm and do not allow him or his antics to annoy me. Unfortunately, there have been a few times that I stooped to his level and gave him a taste of his own medicine only to be left mentally exhausted.

In the past I used to hold my feelings in and I realized it was affecting my entire being. I needed to express my feelings. Eventually, I was able to vent to a very good friend who had been through something similar in the past. I informed her about the childish behavior he occasionally displays. I also informed her that I do not speak negatively about my daughter’s father around her. I do not discuss the issues or conversations that have occurred between him and me with my daughter. There have been times when my daughter is angry with her dad for something and she thinks he should be the topic of the discussion. I let her vent, but I never speak negatively about him to her. I try to explain his action or reaction to her and make a mental note to have a conversation with him about her issues or concerns.  

Unfortunately, her father is not capable of doing the same. There was a time he called me everything, but my name while she was in his care. He has had conversations and expressed his feelings about me to her. He informs her of disagreements we have had in the past or around the time he has her in his care. I have confronted him about the conversations he has had with her. I have expressed to him the conversations he has had with her are inappropriate. I also told him if he needed to talk to me then he should pick up a phone and call me. He should not communicate to me via our daughter. As of today, he still displays the same behavior, it's just not as frequent.

Through all the foolery, I explain to my daughter that despite what her father has said to her about me, regardless of his temper tantrums he is entitled to his opinion and he has a right to feel the way he feels. 

I wanted her to know that I know who I am. Your father’s opinion is just that, his opinions and it does not define me. His opinion or feelings about me do not affect me in any way and she should not allow his thoughts, opinions or feelings about me affect her, our household or relationship. I also told her regardless of what he says he is still your father and you have to respect him. If he says something negative about me, she can RESPECTFULLY and POLITELY inform him that she does not want to hear or discuss his thoughts about mommy.

As a mother and as a responsible woman, I would never try to ruin my daughter’s relationship with their fathers.  I do not want my daughters to ever feel like they have to choose between mommy and daddy. I do not want them to feel bad because they want to spend extra time with their father. Believe me, I am okay with it. I need a minute to breathe too. I encourage their relationship. I know how it feels to grow up with my father in my life. That is something I do not want them to experience.  All I ask for in return is RESPECT. 


Do you struggle with co-parenting with your ex? 
How have you resolved the issue?

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